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St. Paul hires first sustainable transportation planner

Emily Goodman has given the subject some thought.

While earning degrees in geography and psychology at Macalester College, she wrote an honors thesis titled The Green Cities: an Exploration into the Twin Concepts of Urban Sustainability and Conservation Psychology.

In January, after nearly three years working on transportation and bike/walk issues in St. Paul's Department of Planning and Economic Development, Goodman began putting her knowledge and experience to work as the city's first sustainable transportation planner.

The position is a new spoke in the city's larger Sustainable St. Paul strategy. A key part of her work so far has been conducting a survey of bicycle projects in anticipation of a citywide bike plan, which she calls "much-needed and exciting."

Goodman will work to establish a "bicycle priority network"--areas and routes in which the city will support biking with aspects like signage, road treatments, traffic calming, bump-outs, bike boulevards, and off-street trails.

That too supports a larger effort: to create a balanced transportation plan in line with the city's adopted "Complete Streets" policy.

"It acknowledges that the system should serve all users," says Goodman. Cars, bikes, buses, light rail, and pedestrians all have their place. Goodman's position "will focus on types of transportation that…will need a little bit of extra love," she says.

Another part of her role is to partner with other organizations and municipalities--"anybody who is doing good work in the Twin Cities region," she says. St. Paul is currently working on an effort to establish regional way-finding guidelines with nearby counties, the Minnesota Department of Transportation, and, of course, that twin city across the river.

While she does feel a bit overshadowed by the country's number-one bike city, St. Paul's relationship with Minneapolis is "friendly and collaborative," says Goodman, who calls Minneapolis "a great asset."

St. Paul has received some funding, for instance, as a rider on Minneapolis' participation in the federal Non-motorized Transportation Pilot Program, administered through St. Paul-based Transit for Livable Communities.

And Goodman agrees that Minneapolis' lauded bike culture is bolstered at least a bit by its metropolitan neighbors.

"St. Paul has done amazing things," Goodman says. "I'm excited to improve on those, but also to improve on telling the story of what we're already doing."

Source: Emily Goodman, St. Paul's Department of Planning and Economic Development
Writer: Jeremy Stratton

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